Once upon a time, writing fiction was so stressful for me that I’d have flashbacks trying to do it. That post goes into great length, but the short version is that I had experienced great trauma. And at the time I was going through that trauma, writing fiction had been a frequent activity. A form of coping but also my downfall.
And irrevocably linked with a time in my life that almost destroyed me. It’s not pretty. Nothing to be proud of. I’m just glad I survived.
But my partner, you see, wasn’t satisfied with this idea that I was lucky to survive. That survival was all I deserved. No, my partner was obsessed with the fact that I stayed away from things I loved passionately, simply because they were adjacent in my brain’s fear centers to abject suffering. My partner seemed to believe that I owed it to myself — and the people who loved me — to do the hard work and become someone who thrived.
And while I hated it at the time, in hindsight, I’m so very thankful. So very glad. And so proud that I started writing the Psychic State series.
Minerva the Liar is being released as the third volume, but it’s set 20 years before the rest of the series and explains how the Psychic State came to be. It’s also the one I started writing first, before I got a dream that was the first scene of Psychic City, and once I got a glimpse of Viv, Penny, and Karen, I knew I had to write and publish that book first.
I went back to Minerva the Liar after Psychic City was finished. I wrote it second. Psychic Inferno was written third, in a blitz, after my editor pointed out that readers would want some closure on the immediate questions posed by Psychic City.
Minerva the Liar Is a Deeply Personal Book
It’s very exciting — and yet very vulnerable — to be finally releasing Minerva the Liar. There are countless reasons for this. The fuel that Minerva runs on came at a high cost for me. I dug down into my growing-up-queer-in-a-small-town angst.
The book was also written at an incredibly difficult time in my life. I had just relocated cross-country.
I wrote certain scenes at 5 am in the continental breakfast area of a small hotel in Bangor, Maine, when I couldn’t sleep, a trip that I’d taken because I knew it was the last time I’d probably see my father alive (it was).
I was trying to find myself, battling depression, grieving, and struggling to find a new community.
And if that weren’t enough, the pandemic also started while I was writing Minerva the Liar.
I went hard and took a lot of risks. I had frankly worried that Minerva the Liar wouldn’t be accepted by my editor for publication. Imagine my surprise when they said it was their favorite thing I’d ever written. That the second half of the book, in particular, was incredible. That I’d clearly grown as a person and as a writer to write the thing.
Well, it’s out there now. We’ll see if anyone reads, I suppose. (That’s how I feel every time I release a book and will likely always feel that way).
A Back-of-Book Summary and Some Excerpts
Here’s the quick summary of the book (what some folks call the “jacket copy”):
Truthshapers. Dream invasions. Artisanal blackmail.
Minerva Cantor is having a miserable day. Her live-in boyfriend is a man child. The guys at work keep stealing her ideas.
But when she wakes up at the hospital after a serious accident, she’s different. If she crosses her fingers, she can make lies become the truth. She can make things happen. Anything she wants.
Except there’s always a cost for bending the truth. Minerva’s lies lead her to more boyfriends than she can fit in her apartment, a secret matriarchal society of psychic bureaucrats, a resentful homunculus, and a shapeshifter with nothing to lose.
The third book in the Psychic State series takes place twenty years prior and tells the story of how the Psychic State came to be.
And here are a few excerpts:
“I read somewhere that smiling is good for you if you’re depressed. Tricks your body into thinking you’re happier than you are.”
“Are you depressed?” Minerva asked.
“Of course I am,” Change said. “Because I pay attention.”
When you’re bisexual, people are always telling you that you’re a liar. They tell you that what you are doesn’t exist. They say you’re making it up, trying to be something you’re not, so you learn to lie to them about it, deny what you are, and in doing so, you become the thing they’re accusing you of being: A liar.
“Yeah,” her mother said. “It seemed so much simpler before I actually had you. I thought being a mother meant that you made someone who loved you unconditionally, who you could mold into whatever you wanted them to be.” She looked down at her hands uncomfortably. “I was immature. I was looking for a child who’d act like a golden retriever, following my every order, adoring me. I didn’t realize I was bringing a human being into the world, someone who would grow into an adult with their own wants and needs.”
“I wonder how many people do that,” Minerva said.
“I wonder how many people have a baby when what they really should do is adopt a dog.”
Her mother laughed. “Probably happens a lot more often than folks will admit.” She shook her head. “I shouldn’t be telling you things like this.”
“Why not?” Minerva asked.
“Because I don’t want you to feel like you weren’t wanted. You were. We wanted to have a child so bad,” her mother said.
“Oh, I know,” Minerva said. “I was wanted… just not in a way that was realistic.”
-Page Turner, Minerva the Liar
You can purchase the books from the links below. Want to help out? Leave a review after you’ve read the book — and tell other people about it. Thank you all!
Minerva the Liar (#3):
…and over the next several days, it will become available anywhere books are sold, just like the rest of the series.